The results of the latest Emerson Poll are shocking; Bernie is the strongest Democratic candidate.
In fact, U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) is the only Democratic presidential contender who beats President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) in Emerson’s 2020 National Head to Heads. In Emerson’s hypothetical match-up, Sanders received 50% of the popular vote, and Trump 49%.
Moreover, the 17 to 20 November 2019 Emerson Poll shows Sanders is more electable than former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware). For instance, Emerson forecasts Trump could beat Biden by a margin of 51% to 49%.
Additionally, Trump could beat media favorite Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D-Indiana) by 4% or 52% to 48%. Plus, Trump and U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts) are a toss up. In the theoretical Emerson Match up Trump and Warren each receive 50% of the vote.
Unfortunately, Emerson fails to offer a theoretical match up between Trump and the most popular dark horse candidate Andrew Yang (D-New York). Yang has been attracting lately because of his feud with MSNBC.
No Bernie is not Guaranteed the Presidency
Note: these numbers only show Sanders can win the popular vote. An individual can win the popular vote and lose the election. To explain, you need to win the unelected Electoral College to be president.
Consequently, Emerson’s results show Sanders is the strongest Democratic candidate; and the most electable, at this point. If Emerson’s results are accurate, they show the experts’ consensus of the 2020 presidential race is wrong. Voters want a left-wing Democratic and distrust moderates.
There is no Democratic Front Runner
Democratic primary voters; however, are still unsure of Sanders and every other candidate. In fact, there is no front runner, Emerson’s November 17 to 20 poll of probable Democratic primary voters indicates.
Instead, Sanders and Biden are in a tie at 27% each, and Warren is a distant third at 20%. Number four is Buttigieg who gets 7% of the vote. Plus, my favorite Andrew Yang (D-New York) is doing well at 4%. Hence we have a five way race.
Only two candidates, however, seem to have momentum; Sanders and Buttigieg. Sanders gained 2% from the 25% Emerson gave him in October and Buttigieg gained 1%. Warren actually lost ground falling by 1% from 21% in October. Meanwhile, Yang and Biden are standing still at 27% and 4%.
Finally, I think U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is no longer a credible candidate; she fell from 5% in October to 3% in November. Harris’s collapse shows how dramatically the race can change overnight. Just a few months ago, Harris was a leading contender.
Trump Gains a Little Strength
President Donald J. Trump has gained a little strength. For instance, 93% of Republicans now support Trump in the Republican primary.
In addition, Emerson gave Trump a 48% approval rating in November up from 43% in October. Trump still has problems, though, Emerson finds 43% of Americans support impeachment down from 48% in October. Plus 45% of Americans now oppose impeachment.
Trump’s position is stronger but he still faces a tough reelection battle. If Emerson’s predictions are correct Trump will face a close race that could come down to a few states.
The Left Owns the Democratic Party
The Left still owns the Democratic Party. Using Emerson’s numbers, I calculate that 51% of Democratic primary voters support left-wing candidates. To reach that number I added up the percentage of votes for Yang, Warren, and Sanders.
Notably, 47% of Democrats support the two main left-wingers Sanders and Warren. Add Yang to the mix, and over 50% of Democrats want a leftist nominee. Hence, if either Warren or Sanders drops out Biden is toast.
To clarify, just 34% of Democrats support the two successful moderates Biden and Buttigieg. Thus, if Buttigieg and Biden join forces they still lose the primary. Even if they can get the backing of other moderates such as billionaire Michael Bloomberg (D-New York) who was polling at 1% on November 17 through 20.
Younger Voters Hate Biden
Biden has a serious problem because he received just 15% of support of voters under 50, Emerson estimates.
Among those under 50, Bernie gets 37% of the vote, Warren gets 22% of the vote and Yang 7%. Tellingly, Buttigieg does not seem to register with voters under 50 in Emerson’s polling.
Once again, Emerson’s data shows Bernie is the strongest candidate. Interestingly, both Warren and Biden are more popular than Sanders among voters over 50.
In detail, 44% of voters over 50 support Biden, 16% of voters over 50 support Warren, 13% of voters over 50 support Sanders, and 12% of voters over 50 like Buttigieg. However, Yang does not register with those over 50.
Thus Democrats have a generation gap that could lead to serious divisions in primary voting.
More Proof Sanders is the Strongest Democratic Candidate
Additionally, Sanders is strong with Latino voters. Emerson estimates 36% of Hispanic Democrats back Sanders, while just 23% support Biden. Only 22% of Hispanics support Warren.
Importantly, whites also like Sanders. Emerson calculates 29% of whites support Sanders. In contrast Warren and Biden each get 21% of the white vote and Buttigieg gets just 9% of the white vote.
Therefore, Sanders is the most popular Democratic candidate for America’s two largest “ethnic groups.” The US Census Bureau estimates “whites” make up 76.5% of the US population, and 18.3% of Americans identify as Latino. Plus, 60.4% of Americans identify as white not Hispanic.
Support among blacks could not help Biden at the polls. The US Census Bureau estimates 13.4% of the US population is “black.”
Finally, Sanders is popular with left wing; Emerson calls them “very liberal,” voters. In detail, 45% of the very liberals back Sanders; 23% of very liberals support Warren, 16% of leftists back Biden, and Yang and Buttigieg each receive 4% of the very-liberal vote.
The Democrats Biggest Problem: Lack of Loyalty
Problematically for Democrats, 39% of Sanders voters admit they could not support the Democratic nominee if it is not their candidate. Moreover, 23% of Biden voters and 20% of Warren voters also admit they could oppose the Democratic nominee if it is not their candidate.
Finally, Emerson’s polling shows late entries; such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D-New York) and Governor Deval Patrick (D-Massachusetts), will not affect the primary. Emerson estimates those candidates’ level of support at 1% below Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and billionaire Tom Steyer (D-California) who both poll at 2%.
Thus, the prospect of an outsider candidate; besides Yang, capturing the popular imagination is unrealistic.
Why Emerson Matters
I think the Emerson Poll is the most accurate poll because its results partially come from an online panel created with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. Mechanical Turk gets a wider sample of voters because it pays people to answer questions.
In other words, Emerson uses modern social science research methods to guess voters’ opinions. Other polls in contrast, rely on telephone surveys that do not reach most voters. Consequently those surveys miss large portions of the population.
To explain some polls only call landline telephones. Yet, Statista estimates only 41.7% of American households had a landline in 2018.
Thus the pollsters could ignore the 54.9% of Americans who only use a wireless phone. Note I think these figures partially explain the 2016 and 2012 polling failures. To explain, pollsters’ samples could only represent 41.7% of the population.
Why the Emerson Poll could be more accurate
In contrast, Emerson’s polls could represent a wider sample of the population so they could be more accurate.
In particular, Emerson could poll younger voters who do not own land lines. Other polls could reach mostly older voters with land lines. That could favor Biden and Buttigieg, and underestimate support for less traditional candidates such as Yang and Sanders.
Emerson’s results show that the 2020 Presidential Election will be close and nasty. Additionally, Emerson shows that Trump is a strong candidate whom Democrats will have a hard time defeating.
The Poll results could change if voters become more familiar with candidates such as Yang, Buttigieg, and Warren. Yang, Buttigieg, and Warren are unknown quantities to most voters.
Most voters; however, are familiar with Biden and Sanders. That presents Democrats with a problem because Emerson’s data shows most voters dislike their two most popular candidates. Therefore, I think we will see some interesting surprises in the 2020 Democratic primary.
Finally, I predict we will see spectacular polling failures in 2020 because I believe most polls ignore large segments of the population.